The Bulls piled on the pressure late against Cincinnati and the Bearcats folded Thursday night.
Alex Mendez's bases-loaded double drove in three during a six-run eighth inning that broke up a tie and propelled USF to an 8-2 victory at Marge Schott Stadium in Cincinnati. USF (21-10, 6-1) maintained a share of first place in the conference standings by using a bit of luck and timely hitting to put its series opener with Cincinnati away.
Mendez wound up going 2-for-5 with four RBIs and his big hit came after the Bulls already plated two in the decisive eighth inning. Chad Taylor, James Ramsay and Buddy Putnam started the frame off with walks and Todd Brazeal hit into what appeared to be an inning-ending double play when a grounder went through the legs of second baseman Ryan Quinn.
Andrew Longley followed with an RBI single after the error and Mendez's double to left-center capped off the scoring with two outs.
"When things are going good you get those bounces, so we got lucky and then Alex Mendez and those guys had great at-bats," USF head coach Lelo Prado said.
That was more than enough support for USF starter Andrew Barbosa (4-2). The senior left-hander allowed two earned runs on five hits in seven innings to win for the second time in his past three starts.
"He did what we needed him to do," Prado said.
Adrian Puig worked the final two innings, striking out two and allowing one hit to help the Bulls bounce back from a 6-2 loss to Stetson on Tuesday in Tampa.
Joey Lovecchio (6-0) will get the start for the Bulls in the second game of the series 6 p.m. Friday as USF is looking to lock up its third straight Big East series to start the conference season.